An ITIL project in the real world

Monday, January 30, 2006

How did I get into ITIL?

Still 35hours to go until I get that 30 minutes meeting with the main sponsor! Until then, while we're waiting, I thought I could let you know a little bit about how I got into ITIL...

Getting to process improvement
15 months ago, a new IS manager joined our company. He was coming from the pharmaceutical industry, where processes and measures are part of the day to day life of every employee. He was quite surprised to see the total lack of processes and procedures in his new environment... How can you manage your staff without objectives? How can you set objectives if roles and responsibilities are not defined? How can you define roles and responsibilities if there is no process? I had just completed the project of deploying a "Ticketing System" accross our IS department and was supposed to move into his group (PC support, Service Desk and non-corporate support). He proposed to me to setup a Process Improvement group, to start a "continuous process improvement" approach. What that ment wasn't so clear to me, but I took the challenge anyway.

Discovering ITIL
Starting up our new process improvement discipline, I quickly ran into a few issues: how to organize all these processes? How to name them? What to do when you have no process defined? Were there some best practices that we could use, instead of re-inventing the wheel?

I looked on Google, and found: ITIL, Cobit, Six Sigma....

I discovered that ITIL is not only largely accepted, but it also provides a lot of guidance to do efficient IS Service Management. And my colleagues from the operations team had also already heard about it. And our main IS service supplier was talking ITIL... Encouraged by our new boss, we slowly started growing the awareness of the support group through a large ITIL foundation certification campain - but without any project yet, as we were still not able to gain acceptance from the whole top management team.

I also started attending our local itSMF conferences, which was a real eye opener. Other companies do it. It is not just a British thing! They have the same difficulties, the same issues, the same hopes.

ITIL is more than a batch of theorical processes
Month after month, the better I was understanding the 11 ITIL disciplines, the clearer it became that IT Service Management is actually all we ever wanted to do, but were totally unable to, because we never knew how to tackle it! There was a bigger picture that made sense! If only our IS top managers had had a good understanding of these disciplines, then we would be more efficient today. And maybe we could have spared a few re-orgs ;-) There it was: a better vision. Real customer service. But still, we were not able to gain acceptance from the whole top management team.

Get back to earth
Six months ago, a few weeks before I received my Manager's Certificate, an unfortunate change happened: my manager, that was so fond of processes, measures, objectives, etc, was called out of IS by another division to run some special project... His approach was more appealing to that other division than to the IS guys. Bad luck for ITIL! The rest of the IT top management had yet to adher to the approach, and bringing some improvements in these circumstances was gonna be a real challenge!!!

As I was still allowed to work in this field (I'm half jocking), I built up a new strategy with my process friendly colleagues (there are some): stop talking Incident Management, Service Management, ITIL, best practices. Instead, use the words that my organization already understands: escalation paths, criticality, priority, logging when something does not work, logging how it was repaired, agree on when analyst are supposed to work on the things that broke, etc. Start simple. Start with a project for setting up the basics... of Incident Management. Once that project will be completed, grow from there.

So there we are: trying to get this Incident Management project started!


  • Also in the meantime, I'd be interested in any tips/techniques you used for building ITIL awareness within your IS teams as I believe I need to work on this area as well before attaining the all important buy-in.

    By Blogger The ITIL Imp, at 10:35 AM  

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